Direct Effects and Indirect
Action of Ionizing Radiation on
When ionizing radiation directly acts on a
cell it can strike the DNA, which is a key
molecule in the cell.
When DNA sustains a direct hit that hit
can be fatal or alter the DNA’s behavior by
causing chromosome breakage.
When the chromosome is damaged, the
alterations can cause mutations.
Those mutations can result in cancer
which could in turn result in the death of
Indirect action is the ionizing action that
interacts with water inside the body.
Indirect action is particularly damaging
because it induces radiolysis of water.
Radiolysis of Water
During radiolysis of water, free radicals are
Free radicals are electrophilic and skip
around inside the body causing damage
as they go.
Effects on The Population
Alenka, who was born in Belarus in 1984,
has sustained many surgeries from the
effects of ionizing radiation suffered in the
aftermath of Chernobyl.